Wednesday, August 30, 2006
I shot this a few days ago. A couple of panhandlers in the hot afternoon sun on the way home from work. I would have missed it except for the fatal accident on the freeway. I normally do not drive this route home. A semi truck had overturned spilling the driver on to the roadway. I was close enough with my camera to capture it all - but I choose not to. There is something about a man dying that should be private. I could not intrude; a career as a photojournalist is out of the question. I watched as they pulled the sheet over his head, and then drove the shoulder to the off ramp. I shot this picture a few minutes later. Actually, I shot 15 of these pictures trying to capture the silhouette I saw in my head. It is weird how things work out. You never know what is around the next corner.
Technorati Tags: Photography, LA Photoblogging, Long Beach
The human brain does not contain a single "God spot" responsible for mystical and religious experiences, a new study finds.The real story for me was simple. I started to have doubts, the doubts grew, the church abandoned me, science stepped in to explain things, god evaporated. ok - it is more complex, and I may tell the story someday. Suffice it to say that a hit on the head only really gave me blinding headaches, temporary weakness, and some balance problems - for like a friggen year.
Instead, the sense of union with God or something greater than the self often described by those who have undergone such experiences involves the recruitment and activation of a variety brain regions normally implicated in different functions such as self-consciousness, emotion and body representation.
Technorati Tags: science, religion, god spot
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Deep Thoughts will have the pleasure of hosting the 48th issue of the Carnival Of The Godless. The publication date is setfor September 3rd. Articles are being accepted at email@example.com. In addition to writing "COTG Submission" in the subject of the email, please include the following information:
- The name of the blog where the post is from
- The post title.
- The post author's name or handle.
- the post's permanent link.
- A short description of the post.
...Dobson admits in one of his books that as a child he arranged a fight between two mismatched dogs. The battle involved a tenacious bulldog and a "sweet, passive Scottie named Baby," and Dobson provoked it by throwing a tennis ball toward Baby. He writes what happened next: "The bulldog went straight for Baby's throat and hung on. It was an awful scene. Neighbors came running from everywhere as the Scottie screamed in terror. It took ten minutes and a garden hose for the adults to pry loose the bulldog's grip. By then Baby was almost dead. He spent two weeks in the animal hospital, and I spent two weeks in the doghouse. I was hated by the entire town."
As any child psychologist will tell you, this type of cruelty toward animals is a sign of a serious psychological disturbance.
Technorati Tags: James Dobson, Religion, FOTF
Myth 9 - Atheists are cold and uncaring. No, we are not. Having delusions doesn’t make anyone more “caring”. And, again, we treat life as precious, and do what we can to improve it, both ours and that of our loved ones. On the other hand, many Christians believe life is suffering, and that there’s nothing we can do about it
Technorati Tags: Atheism
The food is... outstanding and lasts from the first "have you eaten" to the last "take some home". The party will be scheduled to start at 3:00, people will arrive at Noon, and continue arriving until late at night. If you are lucky, the roast pig (lechon) will arrive when the formal meal starts. If not, the meal will start when the roast pig arrives. Once the roast pig arrives, men will carve it to pieces with very sharp knifes. The skin disappears in a matter of minutes. I always snag a piece.
I will not go into the gambling, rest assured that every party, no matter if it is a wake or a baptism, will have some form of gambling. Party guests will bring their own tables, cards, tiles, and chips, and then setup in an out of the way corner, or the garage. The games will go on all night.
No Filipino party is complete without line dancing. At a typical party, the dancing starts when the sun sets, or when somebody starts to play Achy Breaky Heart (over and over again). Everybody dances - well almost everybody dances. I am not a line dancer, so I watch instead. My cousin and long time friend Neil is pictured dancing in front of his father-in-law. He has no shame, but who cares - it’s a party.
Technorati Tags: Photography, Family, Filipino Culture
United Kingdom: Alleged 'hard rock' music channel Scuzz TV has banned Deicide's latest video on the grounds that it might be offensive to the superstitious. The video is a classic zombie story, in which a priest is chased by zombies, and becomes one himself when he is caught. There's no explicit violence, and what special effects there are are a bit crap. Nor does it seem particularly anti-religious, unless suggesting that priests are people too is somehow derogatory.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
"Sissy, actually, I don't think there are any scientists who support Darwin's theory," emails the normally astute John Hinderaker of PowerLine in an eye-popping response to a note we sent the PL boys yesterday following their plug of Mark Steyn's thumbs-up review of Ann Coulter's new book. Here's what we said:It is one of my pet peeves, smart people who act dumb in pursuit of a political or religious “truth”. The argument is as simple as this. If you look up at the sky and see that it is blue, but read the bible and find that it says the sky is green, the sky is still blue, no matter what your religious “truths” would have you believe. Fact are facts – there is an overwhelming accumulation of facts supporting evolution and NONE supporting any other concept.Re the otherwise awesome Ann Coulter, what do you make of her trashing of Darwin's theory of evolution? In my view, it totally undermines her credibility
Technorati Tags: Evolution, Science, Ann Coulter
Friday, August 25, 2006
So, I vowed to take my camera with me everyplace I go and once again start recording the oddities of life that I find so fascinating. I started yesterday - I shot this today.
Take this shot - nothing odd really, only this lady and her date annoyed me at dinner tonight. He (not pictured) smoked a clove cigarette, while she talked loudly through a mouth full of fish tacos. I tried to take an ugly picture of an annoying woman. I think I succeeded. He (not pictured) started to say something to me when I shot this - one growl from the big red bear was enough to shut him up.
Why is it that eating can look so much like praying? There must be some connection to the act of praying and eating delicious fish tacos. I bet our prehistoric ancestors would gather around the nearest fish taco eatery while bending over plates to avoid dripping fishy goodness on their dress up duds. So praying must be a way of imprinting youngsters in the art of fish taco eating. Yep - that makes perfect sense to me.
Technorati Tags: Photography
I made a new friend at work. Shepal is originally from India and has experienced life a little differentially than I have. I grew up middle class poor, he grew up in a boarding school. We spoke while eating mexican food today. This is what he said.
I spoke to a mystic who told me I would be lucky.
I believe in gods, well kind of anyway.
I found an Indian coin in the grass while walking in Yorba Linda, I guess I'm lucky.
I married my wife without first knowing her, she is 25 but looks 16.
My lifeline has the outline of the weapon on the Indian coin.
Candy is good. Meat is bad, but only since I got married.
I showed up for the first day of High School football practice clad in soccer shoes and shin guards - I wondered why everyone else was in pads.Technorati Tags: Photography
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Dobson, who founded Focus in California more than two decades ago, said if those proposals become law, the California Legislature will deliver the state's children "straight into the arms of the homosexual activist community."
Picture #3 - BBQ King - yep, been there, ate that.
Picture #6- El Micoacano - My first Gorditas.
PIcture #8 - FatBurger - oh hell yes - about a 100 times.
Picture #17 - Molly's - Ate a dog, got the runs.
Picture #19 - Wendell's - in a bad neighborhood, worth the risk.
Panter missed my favorite Taco stand, Tito's Tacos in West LA. A typical meal is pictured above. Click the link - Tito's has a theme song!
Three taco's and one meat burrito, plus chips, salsa and a coke. All for about $10. Tito's is "The Taco Stand" in LA. People will stand in line from the moment it opens until it closes in the wee hours of the morning. On most visits, at least 50 people are waiting for a meal. At one time, back in the 80s, all I had to do was hold up three fingers when I approached the window. My favorite server would make my box and slip it to me so I would not have to stand in line. Of course, I tipped well, and every Christmas brought her a good bottle of wine.
Most of the employees have been with Tito's for a long time. Tito's offers full health benefits and a good retirement plan. In addition, they treat each other and their customers with respect. Unlike other Taco stands, one gets the impression that Tito's is a valued part of the community.
The employees take great care and pride in the simple menu they prepare by hand. The Taco's are great, the best I've had in LA actually. I've had a better fish taco in San Diego, and a better Carnitas Taco in Norwalk - but Tito's makes only beef taco's, and they are the best.
Tito's also makes something it calls a meat burrito. Dinners must learn how to eat this volcanic delicacy before attempting to dig in. Failure to learn the proper technique will result in rookie blow out. The meat filling will stain your hands brown. It take hours to wear off (trust me).
The correct burrito eating technique is to bit a hole in the top, then suck the inside out while you gently guide the meat filling towards the hole. One you have reduced the volume, it is possible to start eating down the tortilla. You will need persistence and practice – but it is worth the effort.
One other thing - Johnny's Pastrami shares the same packed parking lot. It serves a good hot pastrami sandwich. I've taken RG to Johnny's - but Tito's is reserved for locals!
Technorati Tags: Photography, LA Photoblogging, Tacos, Culture, Restaurants, Los Angeles, Titos Tacos
Three or four times a week, I enjoy a great lunch break under a spreading tree in quite park. On occasion, I flaunt local regulations and light a fat cigar while talking with my friends. Today was one such day, a short lunch, a long smoke, and a good conversation with my bud Jeff. Towards the end of my repast, I looked up to find my tree defiled by some jagoff named IDEZ.
Filled with impotent rage... I did nothing.
Technorati Tags: Photography, Carson Ugly
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Those in what Green describes as “modernist” religious congregations, for example, churchgoers who were more ecumenical, or universalist, in their beliefs, tend to vote Democratic, regardless of denomination. Traditional evangelicals support Bush by 68 percentage points over Kerry in Green’s latest poll, taken in the spring. But modernist evangelicals back Kerry by 8 percentage points over Bush.I'm going to have to add it to my religious lexicon. This election cycle is going to be crazy.
Technorati Tags: Religion, Culture wars
I don't know if this can be filed under cultural misunderstands or utter stupidity, but I'm leaning towards utter stupidity. Puneet Sablok opened a Hitler themed restaurant in Bombay with or without understanding or caring if doing so offended anyone.
Owner Puneet Sablok insisted then -- and still does -- that the name and theme of his new eatery is only meant to attract attention, with its posters of Adolf Hitler and swastikas.Yep, I'm leaning towards stupidity here. I might even throw in cultural insensitivity. Sablok has no intent to rename to restaurant or remove the Nazi memorabilia. So, when his establishment is fire bombed, Sablok will have no one to blame but himself.
"There is no intention to hurt anyone," Sablok said of his spacious restaurant, which serves pastries, pizza and salad in Navi Mumbai, a northern suburb of Bombay, which is also known as Mumbai.
Now, if you will excuse me, I must leave for the Pancake Hut, which has been newly renamed as the David Duke Flapjack Factory - because, you know, those skinheads are good for business.
For more info, Sweetness and Light has an interesting take on this.
Technorati Tags: Hitler, Nazi, India, Culture
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
A photography legend has died. Joe Rosenthal passed away at the age of 94. Rosenthal is famous for his iconic image of US Troops raising the flag over Iwo Jima (pictured above). Rosenthal, as opposed to some photojournalists today, told a compelling story with his images. I have always desired to have his drive, and his eye for composition. According to an obit, he climbed a mountain for this shot.
Rosenthal, who covered the war for the Associated Press, almost abandoned his climb to the summit when he heard that the flag had already been raised. But when he arrived there he found Marines hoisting the second one. He did not see the picture that he had filed until days later, after it had appeared around the world.
Technorati Tags: Obituary, Joe Rosenthal, Photography
Monday, August 21, 2006
Cornwell was drawn to the idea that Sickert, noted for his scenes of London life, might have been the Ripper because he painted macabre scenes and was interested in the murders.
...It is presented in slightly different ways - sometimes it is used against the inarguable proposition that most wars since religion began have been caused, one way or another, by religion.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
- Spoiled Honey
- Skeptic Rant
- Out of respect...
- Cosmic Variance
- Dispatches from the Culture Wars
- Pooflingers Anonymous
- Meet An Atheist
- Evolution 101
- Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster How did I miss this?
- Circular Reasoning
- Darwin's Dagger
- Atheist Girl
- Beware of the Dogma
Noel Black has figured out a way to bleed off funds from Focus on the Family by ordering tons of free anti-gay material. Order some for your friends today!
Few people know that Focus on the Family powerful evangelical Christian para-church based in Colorado Springswill give you, absolutely free of charge, books, CDs, and DVDs. Usually people pay for these products, and the millions of dollars raised helps Focus on the Family produce yet more books and CDs featuring Dr. James Dobson and other Focus "experts." (Focus on the Family's experts, when they're not chatting on the phone with Karl Rove, run around the country teaching people how to stop being so gay and when it's appropriate to kick their kids' asses.)
James Dobson's Focus on the Family is now selling DeMar's book, America's Christian Heritage. Dobson himself has a warm relationship with many in the movement, and he has admitted voting for Reconstructionist presidential candidate Howard Phillips in 1996.
James Dobson has incurred the wrath of gay blogger's. Confessions of an Amateur Queer's rant is interesting.
If he is opposed to the existence of homosexuals, that’s fine—no one (as far as I know) is asking him to be a homosexual—but I don’t understand his obsession with forcing everyone else to conform to his own views. Claiming that he’s doing it for religious reasons is ludicrous; Jesus said to spread the good news. None of his political activities or anti-gay activism does anything to spread God’s love. If he was truly concerned about following the teachings of his particular religion, he would stop trying to alienate people and force his own version of what’s right and wrong on everyone else and concentrate on preaching the gospel.
The Wiccan community is starting to watch Dobson.
The program, coordinated by the Colorado-based group Focus on the Family and its influential founder, James Dobson, will use a variety of methods -- including information inserted in church publications and booths placed outside worship services -- to try to recruit millions of new voters in 2006 and beyond.
I'll finish with Station Charon and a post called The Real Worms Inside the Apple. It is a long rant targeting many who are trying to bring down America. I must admit, I skipped to the nutball religious leaders section. I'm going back to read the whole thing after I post.
Some of the biggest members of the Filthy Fifths are the evangelical Christian radical clerics. These are the worst of the worst when it comes to distortion and the spewing of bigoted diatribes and anti-American sentiment all wrapped up in the cross and the flag. Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell...
I read through 25 articles for this post. The top 25 in Technorati. The vast majority were critical of Dobson. It has been the same each week. Most people are concerned about the anti-everything rhetoric he spews. We should be worried. If you are like me, an unbeliever, the target he draws is on our backs.Technorati Tags: James Dobson, Focus on the Family, Religion, Gay Rights
Cincinnati is suffering under and increased murder rate. A satanic serial killer was recently put to death, and drug related violence and serial killings have been played up in the press. In this climate, Kippley suggests it is because we don't teach morality in public schools any longer. His editorial suggests the crime wave is the result of atheists. I guess he figures crime did not exist before Lemon v. Kurtzman.
This is aggravated by a widespread opinion that there is no punishment after death for unrepentant sinners. Some believe there is simply no life after death. Others believe that everyone goes to heaven no matter how many commandments he breaks or how unrepentant he is. The Christian doctrine of the possibility of going to hell is denied or ignored. Given the ugliness of life for some, such a belief system deprives them of internal motivation to live the good but difficult life of resisting temptations of every sort. They are given no reasons beyond "don't get caught" for obeying just laws.
Kippley offers no proof that atheists are to blame for the recent murders, nor does he explain how "teaching a culture of life" will help the problem. Instead he offers to increase local taxes to pay for more jails. So besides offering a red herring on the murders, he is promoting an increase in the prison population through spending more tax payer money. I imagine his values based changes to public education would cost some tax payer money too. Kippley managed to catch my attention on the atheism and libertarian fronts. Hitting both hot buttons in one editorial does not happen too often.
Criminals do not often struggle with moral issues. Simply teaching Christian morality in public schools will no more prevent felonious behavior than it does in the graduates of our many religious schools. The quality of education is what often one of the important factors that determines what path a life will follow. There are many other factors, like what a child is taught at home or at his or her church, which contribute to their behavior in life. Perhaps Kippley should focus his energy there?
On last thing, Kippley assertion that public schools are promoting practical atheism is absurd. "Just because a person doesn't want religion to control civil institutions doesn’t mean that, therefore, they don't believe in any gods and/or aren't religious". Atheism and secularism are not the same thing. Why so many people get this wrong?Technorati Tags: Editorials, Atheism, Crime, Cincinnati
Saturday, August 19, 2006
I decided to test WLW by posting a text only link of a story. My first attempt, with pictures, well lets just say it did not work as planned.
I found a dreary Dear Amy post where Mr. Offended Professor, an atheist, finds the Christian ways of his officemates offensive. Offended gives details:
Soon after I was hired, I received a desk decor gift from the department dean that included quotes from the Bible on small Post-its. I also constantly receive religious e-mails that are from the department secretary and my department chair.
Other bad things happen, like praying before a meal. It is a public institution after all! Mr. Offended is afraid to complain, you know, it might cost him is job. What is he to do? Amy answers:
...Miller suggests, and I agree, that even if you don't want to make a "federal case" out of this, you have a right to let your colleagues know where you stand. I would think of this as a courtesy toward people who don't know you very well.
In other words, grow a set.
Back to reality - WJW is nice. It is very easy to piece together a post and view the results. I like it. I wish it supported blogger better. But, I suspect that is a design feature. Know what I mean? For now I will be posting with this tool, and then adding photos later.
Technorati Tags: WLW, Blogging, Writing, Atheism
Writely has support for tags - I am not quite sure how they work yet. Inserting hyperlinks is easy. As is editing font attributes, but it does not have a spell checker! Oh wait - it does! Writely and bloggers are not in the dictionary. That seems odd. I wanted to test the block quote function because I use it a lot. Writely does not have a button for it on the main menu, but there is one in the Style drop down menu. so from newvibes...
Block quote seems to work OK, undoing a mistake is tedious, but what the heck, after living in blogger hell for a couple of years, HTML is not a problem. It looks like the cut and past from newvibes also carried over the hyperlinks. This could be a good tool - time and more posting will tell.
It took me literally 10 seconds to register an account with Google’s new on line word processor, Writely. Once you log in with your email and your password you are given a screen which tells you that you can create a new document immediately or upload a document.
*** Posting note - the picture did not post. I had to add it after the fact. Also, my tags did not post, and my title did not come across. ***
Technorati Tags: Blogging, Writely, Writing
Friday, August 18, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
In honor of my friend how ask if I still take pictures and his facinating link to Women Walking Around at Lunchtime - ok ok - I will take and post more pictures.
Of course, in LA this is like so illegal. Not to mention the wack on the head I am sure to get from my wife. It's art baby - I swear.
Technorati Tags: photography, people
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Dobson is building a political machine.
The Dobson campaign has all the trappings of a traditional political machine. FOF's state affiliates plan to name coordinators for each county who will supervise church coordinators in each evangelical congregation. FOF's church coordinators will prod pastors to speak about political issues, conduct voter-registration drives and disseminate "voter guides and get-out-the-vote efforts."
Federal law prohibits all nonprofits from endorsing or opposing candidates for public office. Dobson is using his non-profit FOTF to organize values based voters . Dobson seems intent on influencing the upcoming elections, yet appears to have no regard for the law.
FRC Action, the legislative action arm of Family Research Council, will host the first annual Washington Briefing: Values Voter Summit 2006 along with co-sponsors Focus on the Family Action, American Family Association Action and Americans United to Preserve Marriage. With a combined network of over five million supporters, four of America's most influential faith-and-family groups are gearing up for an event guaranteed to shape the debate for this year's midterm elections and beyond.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State is focusing attention on Dobson's activities
"This cannot in my wildest fantasies be viewed as some kind of non-partisan voter education project," Lynn said of FOTF's proposed voter guides outlining candidates' positions on religious issues. "They're going to make the Democrat look like he belongs in the house of horrors wax museum and the Republican look like he ought to be a saint."And in this bit of disturbing news, Dobson has apparently given his tacit endorsement of Christian reconstructionalist author Gary North, who advocates the public stoning of gays and nonbelievers, by promoting North's book at FOTF.
"I don't want to capture their (mainstream Americans') system. I want to replace it," fumed North to a cheering audience. North has called for the stoning of gays and nonbelievers (rocks are cheap and plentiful, he has observed). Both friends and foes label him "Scary Gary."
What is it about Dobson that bothers me? Why do I watch Dobson so closely? It should be obvious. He wants to remake America into some kind of Christian theocracy. I like America the way it is.
Technorati Tags: Dobson, FOTF, Stoning, Religion, Scary Gary
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
This idolatrous mixing of Church and State is nothing less than cultic in nature. The elevation of right wing ideology to the status of equality with the message of the Gospel, and indeed, the commingling of the two to the status of inseparable identification is heresy. As Barth made quite clear, the Gospel + Anything = heresy.I could not agree more.
"Agnostics, atheists and bigots suddenly lose all that when their life is on the line."Having faced my own mortality on several occasions, I can testify that even under the stress of impending doom, I did not resort to religion or faith to see me through the crisis. I talked to my wife, to my son, and to a close friend. There were no silently uttered prayers, no appeals for help from on high. Just a very real "oh crap, what do I do now". How, as Blum implies, do I lose what is essentially "me" in a time of crisis when it is "me” that sees me through the crisis in the first place. The truth is, I never lose "me", instead, I appeal to my intellect and social network to see me through whatever life throws my way.
I believe that some Christians are incapable of understanding how anybody can cope with life or death issues without God to fall back on. They are incapable of understanding because they do not know us. They are incapable of understanding because if is easier to accept a stereotype. They are incapable of understanding because it is inconceivable to think that there are people who do not need a higher power. It is as if the very idea could somehow challenge their faith.
I like the quote that ends this article.
"If someone is a committed atheist, they're likely to stay a committed atheist."
Technorati Tags: Atheism, Religion, Faith
Monday, August 14, 2006
Check out Blogger Buzz for more info.
Technorati Tags: Blogger Beta>
In his business dealings, he underscored his faith by naming his investment firm JTL, or "Just the Lord." Pastors and churchgoers alike entrusted their money to him.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
There are many factors that have brought on the epidemic we're seeing, not the least of which is the trash that is beamed to teenagers on television, in movies and from the rock music industry. Young people today are bombarded by immoral entertainment that models promiscuous behavior and teaches them that "everyone is doing it." The diminishing influence of traditional Christian teaching is also responsible for the changing mores of our kids.First question - what epidemic? Teen Pregnacy and abortion rates have been falling steadily. The Guttmacher Institute attributed about 25% of the decline to abstinence and 75% to the effective use of contraceptives.
What is Dobson real concern? It would seem on the surface to be teen sex. Teens have been having sex for a very long time. Nothing has really changed; teens are driven by hormones that say, “go have sex”. Teens have been remarkably bad at stopping their biologic urges. The Dobson fueled image of out-of-control teen sexuality feeds readily into the FOTF "save the family" campaign. Exaggerating fears is a cheap way for Dobson and FOTF to wage a war on their real target - gays and lesbians.
Technorati Tags: Dobson, FOTF, Religion, Politics
Too much has been made of intelligent design theory in our culture wars, because the press, the lawyers, the politicians, and the people love to sensationalize. They want a story with a lot of conflict. So when they talk about intelligent design in the press, they feel like they have to tell you what the theory implies, and not just what the theory is. They think they have to spell out who or what the designer is, even if it is just to say an "unknown force", instead of simply letting it go at the evidence of design ... Let us be sober-minded, patient, curious, polite, flexible, and welcoming in our scientific endeavors. Let's work together with honesty and integrity.After a resounding defeat in Kitzmiller, the ID movement is struggling to repackage its creationism message in science. Apparently, they think that stepping further away from god will help sell Intelligent Design. I have some advice - try science. Religious arguments, even when hidden in the language of science, will always lose to science. But of course, that is what Kitzmiller was all about.
Technorati Tags: ID, Creationism, Kitzmiller, Culture Wars
“One of the things that bothered Michael a great deal was his lack of understanding how people can live a valuable life and one that cares about the betterment of the world without having the Bible as a reference for living. It seemed to surprise them that non-religious people can raise responsible, respectful children and have positive, contributing lives,” said Frei, who found it much easier to bond with Tracy Shores.
But I'm offended that so many conservative Christians believe that theirs is the only path to salvation. I'm sick of being proselytized. We Jews enjoy a more basic type of faith, a direct relationship to God that requires no salvation, no penitence, no supplication. We do not proselytize. And we don't worry about the next life; we conduct mitzvahs -- good deeds -- that enhance life for ourselves and others in the here and now.
The Dean-Altemeyer thesis posits that "authoritarian personalities" -- dominating, conventional, dishonest -- are drawn to conservative politics as defined by today's GOP. Dean then detaches from Altemeyer to warn that as the Republican Party becomes increasingly intolerant and swollen with activist social conservatives, the nation drifts toward a "conservative authoritarianism."
Saturday, August 12, 2006
via Atheist Revolution: Focus on the Family's blantant Lysenkoism
They oppose APA's position on "therapeutic" efforts to convert homosexuals. So called restorative therapies (i.e., psychotherapy designed to convert homosexuals into heterosexuals) have been the subject of several well-controlled scientific studies. The data show that they are not only ineffective, but harmful. These data form the basis of APA's position in opposition to such approaches. This is a clear example of religious extremists opposing science when it conflicts with their faith.Technorati Tags: Dobson, FOTF, Lysenkoism, Gay Rights
Photo taken in route to Matisyahu concert.
I took my son to his first concert last Wednesday at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. My son is 11 and just the right age to expose him to high quality live music. We saw Matisyahu and Michael Franti & Sprearhead. The show was outstanding. There is nothing like a mixture of a Hasidic Jewish crowd, middle class parents with their kids, the ususal posers, and Rastafarians. The mix of cultures was unlike anything I had ever experience before. We had a blast.
Michael Franti was unknown to me. I had heard a few of his songs on KCRW, but did not know much about his music. I loved what I heard, even if the anti-war slant did not play well to the audience. I will be adding him to my music rotation, I thought his music would be a great add to my reggae collection. My son slept through most of Franti’s set. Several bystanders snapped pics of him with their cell phones, so I am sure he is on the net somewhere.
Intermission was covered by the Street Drum Corps – it was painful.
The main act, Matisyahu was outstanding. I’ve been a fan for a few months already and had been looking forward to the show. He did not disappoint. If you would like a more in depth analysis, checkout Pastor Brad’s post, he and I went together with our sons.
I watched my sons eyes light up as he took in the spectacle. The lighting was amazing, the music moving. For a brief time, my son and I held hands and just grooved on the experience. (he’s 11 so he will still holds dad’s hand in public). I can only say that for me the night was all about my son experiencing the joy of live music. I will never forget it.
I should note here that the first concert I took my other son to was MC Hammer and his crew in Long Beach. That’s right, hammer time! Vanilla Ice was supposed to perform, but he cancelled. Like Matisyahu, the experience of taking my son to MC Hammer, despite my distaste for his music, is a memory I will cherish the rest of my life. There is something about music that moves the soul (or in my case, that inner me thingy). I miss my older son, he is out of the house and on his own now. Sometimes, I miss him so bad it hurts – now, where did I put that MC Hammer tape?
Technorati Tags: Matisyahu, Music, LA Culture, Photography
Anyway, I think what struck me the most about the show was the fact that the Christians just could not understand how in the hell a person could live without God in their lives. He didn’t understand where their morals came from, or what their purpose for living was. It seems that some Christians see no value to their lives without God. Is that the case?I felt the show did an adequate job of juxtaposing a rational atheist and decent Christians. Although it was strange at times to fathom the problem Papa Shores had understanding how Brenda could live her live without something to believe in. A concept we atheists understand well is as mysterious to a Christian as belief in a deity is to an atheist.
I am somewhat disappointed that Brenda did not rise to the occasion when a bible study turned towards evolution. Brenda holds several degrees, including a PhD in psychology; it would have been a simple matter for her to refute some of the fundamentalist rants about evolution while interjecting that Darwinism is not a replacement for Christianity with atheists.
One thing that bothered me about this episode was that Brenda did not seem to embrace learning what it means to be a Christian in America today. Instead, the show focused on Christians reacting to atheists. I watched a second episode of 30 days, where a Christian went to live among Muslims in Dearborn Michigan. This episode featured a man who genuinely wanted to learn about the Muslim community he was living in. It was good TV, and much better than “Brenda visits the Christians”. I recommend both episodes highly.
The Atheist Mama also posted her review here.
The photo was borrowed from the Atheist Mama.
Technorati Tags: TV, FX, 30 Days, Atheism, Christianity
While the team wouldn't provide a reason for its decision, several gay rights groups on the Web bristled with speculation that Focus on the Family was given the boot for promoting its belief that homosexuality is a social problem comparable to alcoholism, gambling or depression.
I celebrate the small victories.
Technorati Tags: Dobson, Atlanta, , FOTF, Religion, Politics
Friday, August 11, 2006
The council, though, wants to put candidates on the record about how they would rule on - big surprise coming - same-sex marriage, abortion and vouchers to attend religious schools. Council President John Stemberger, a lawyer who is promoting a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Florida, said at a news conference two weeks ago: "It's clear that certain judges may not like this. The public is demanding it."
Technorati Tags: Dobson, Florida, FOTF, Religion, Politics
America learned a hard lesson once; we put thousands of innocent Japanese citizens in detention centers. During a time of war, America failed to protect one of its minority populations. We will never live the shame down. We must guard against repeating our collective mistake. American Muslims simply share the same religion as the terrorists President Bush calls Islamic fascists. To vilify our Islamic citizens because of a potential link to the terrorists is incondensable. As citizens, they deserve the full protection of the law. Anything less would be counter to the American spirit.
On the other hand, being an American comes with obligations. Organizations like CAIR do not help solve the problem when the fail to link the acts of terrorists to the religion they represent, however misguided that representation may be. CAIR and American Muslims have a moral obligation to stand against the members of their religion who choose use to terror as a weapon of retribution and conquest.
Technorati Tags: Islam, Gallup, Muslim, Terrorism, CAIR
...you might even be tempted to say that it's "just" a theory. In the same sense, relativity as described by Albert Einstein is "just" a theory. The notion that Earth orbits around the sun rather than vice versa, offered by Copernicus in 1543, is a theory. Continental drift is a theory. The existence, structure, and dynamics of atoms? Atomic theory. Even electricity is a theoretical construct, involving electrons, which are tiny units of charged mass that no one has ever seen. Each of these theories is an explanation that has been confirmed to such a degree, by observation and experiment, that knowledgeable experts accept it as fact. That's what scientists mean when they talk about a theory: not a dreamy and unreliable speculation, but an explanatory statement that fits the evidence.
Love that science - hate that ignorance!
Technorati Tags: Evolution, Fundamentalism, Creationism, Science
The team found that individuals with anti-abortion, pro-life views associated with the conservative wing of the Republican Party were significantly more likely to reject evolution than people with pro-choice views. - fundies!
Technorati Tags: Evolution, Fundamentalism, Creationism
Thursday, August 10, 2006
The New Evangelicals that emerged throughout and after WW II attempted to define and clarify their identity and denomination as a middle path between a militant, narrow and reactionary fundamentalism and a form of liberalism that had capitulated to modernity and the trends of culture. The Sanhedrin that guided the ship over such turbulent waters did much to make it clear that there was a third way of understanding the faith journey, and such a way need not be liberal nor fundamentalist. Who were the leaders and the institutions/organizations that formed this appealing denominational Sanhedrin? And, what were the faults and failings of such a Sanhedrin?This article is a keeper. Set aside a few minutes for the read.
Technorati Tags: Evangelicals, Dobson, Religion
...they (atheists) have no right to talk about it in government schools. Because the thought of teaching creationism in schools usually causes liberals to hyperventilate, the thought of teaching evolution or atheism should now have the same effect. What’s the real problem that liberals have with teaching creationism in schools? Do they oppose it because it’s a matter of faith, and not of science? Or do they oppose it because it isn’t their faith? We should know soon, since the predominantly atheist belief in evolution has now been defined as a religious matter.A reality check is in order. Atheism is simply the doctrine or belief that there is no God. Evolution is a scientific theory unrelated to atheism in any way. Why do some Christians insist the two are linked?
btw - religion is commonly defined as belief concerning the supernatural, sacred, or divine, and the moral codes, practices and institutions associated with such belief. Atheism has everything to do with religion and nothing to do with evolution.
Technorati Tags: Atheism, Evolution, Religion, Logic, Christian apologetics
Although supposedly shunning both political left and right, almost all of Boyd's fire is aimed at conservatives, mostly fellow evangelicals. "I am sorry to tell you," he preached in one 2004 sermon, "that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world," a view that he ascribes to his targets. He chastised the "hypocrisy and pettiness" of evangelicals who dwell on "sexual issues" like homosexuality and abortion. American evangelicalism, he said, "is guilty of nationalistic and political idolatry."I've been pressing Pastor Brad to do the same thing. This movement, even if it is led by the religious left, is sorely needed. Preach on Reverend Boyd!
Technorati Tags: Evangelicals, religion, politics, culture wars
Pallywood is a documentary looking into manufactured Palestinian news clips. All of which are eagerly used by the MSM. It begs the question, how much of what we see is real? Can anything we see be trusted to represent what is really going on in Israel, in Lebanon, or in Iraq? I do not think so.
Hat tip to Bruce Cohen, a California libertarian candidate for Congress.
Technorati Tags: Pallywood, Israel, Palestine, MSM, Youtube, Bruce Cohen
This is scary, James Dobson continues to expand the influence of his FOTF movement. His goal, according to Dr. Phil E. Suiter, president of the Virgina coalition, are to retard the movement of our nation and state away from biblical principles of morality and ethics - news flash: America is a secular nation, not a Christian nation. America must remain free to embrace the religions and ethics of all people. Christianity is only one of many religious in our great nation today. Promoting one religion over another will only led to some level of sectarian strife. Do we really want to walk down the same road as we see in Iraq?
Technorati Tags: Dobson, FOTF, Evangelicals, Religion
Salisbury thinks American can weather the storm. I am not so optimistic.
Technorati Tags: Dobson, Fundamentalism
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
The booing holds until we find out that Landis is a gun nut. Because recent studies have shown that handling a gun causes increased testosterone levels. Maybe Landis did a little target shooting after taking cortisone shots, drinking beer with whiskey chasers, taking his thyroid medications, dranking too little water, and suffering the pain of an overacting metabolism. No, Landis should have did a Bonds - Testostowhat? I thought I was getting a back rub.
Cycling, testosterone, cheating, Landis
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Warning - this video will piss you off. My friend Richard sent me this a few days back. It pissed me off so much I waited to post it until I became a little more objective. These 9/11 deniers are sick twisted people - they laugh at the pain of those who died or suffered a loss. They are the very definition of a nutballs. Thanks Rich.
Technorati Tags: 9/11 Deniers, Video, Terrorism
Dan “Frodo” Litwin, a Lord of the Rings fan running for Congress– (Seriously, what is going on here.)
Destruction of the Ring: Power is what politics is all about. But Power Sucks, and absolute power sucks absolutely. So I will soon introduce a new site: PowerSucks.com, to address this issue fully.
Pulling the rug out from under terrorists: Terrorism is actually being helped by the two parties' politics. Terrorism is being enabled, enriched, and inspired. I have a plan that would disable, defund and deflate terror, saving lives and money right away. Go to PeaceIsPossible.com to see what I mean and to read more about my position on this issue.
Or - how about Herb Peters for Congress: Herb wants the economy to be “more better” – Of course, it could be he just doesn’t like them taxes. Oh yes – I would vote for this guy. His website possesses only the most amateurish content – he does not exist in the press or on the internet. He has no position on anything relevant. I am willing to bet he gets 23 votes tops.
Art Olivier does Herb Peters one better, the Olivier campaign is invisible. Art Oliver is running for Governor – it might be a lost cost. At least I know the name – he replaced the Druid Spitter who ran for Governor last cycle.
But the worst of the worst so far is Kelley Ross – Kelly has a few extreme views, none of which are germane to the current political cycle. I’m going to list what he’s in favor of below, there is no need to look at what he is against, by the time you get through list below, you will have a solid understanding for why this guy is unelectable.
Kelly Ross is for: Abortion, Pornography, Drug Legalization, Legalized Gambling, Legalized Prostitution, Gay Marriage, Nude Family Recreation, RuPaul, Jerry Spinger, Strippers, and Las Vegas. (How the hell can you be for Las Vegas?)
What does any of this have to do with the current California political climate? Nothing at all! This is why libertarian are ridiculed as nutballs. This is why everything they do is marginalized. This is why they only make the “oddball” section of newspapers, and oddly enough, this is why I like watching them. They are endlessly and hopelessly out of touch with reality. As my friend said today, many libertarians inhabit the fourth floor of a mental hospital and think it is the Ritz. They spend time arguing with each other, all the while thinking the people walking by on the street below are paying attention.
I am a libertarian – but not anything like these people. They need help, lots of help.
I will have something positive to say in my next libertarian post - I promise
Technorati Tags: Libertarian, California Politics, LPC, Libertarian Party of California, Art Olivier, Herb Peters, Kelly Ross, Dan Litwin
Monday, August 07, 2006
Religious fundamentalism causes this kind of excessive response to otherwise normal behavior. It is not restricted to Islam; witness the lynching, book burnings, and abortion clinic bombing of our past. Fundamentalism breeds extreme behavior and must be confronted when and where it happens. The next time a religious based hate crime happens, like the synagogue shooting in Washington, outrage must be real and action swift.
We are failing in Iraq – when people die because their goats don’t wear a diaper, American style open tolerance for diversity is not catching on. Our efforts should at least try to teach this, anything else leads to civil war and anarchy.
Technorati Tags: Iraq, fundamentalism, religion, NPR
Saturday, August 05, 2006
LGF has picked up this article. It was my first LGF hat tip. Yay for me!
Technorati Tags: Iran, Islam, Israel,
Many people have asked me about the war. I have not made up my mind yet, but here is what I am thinking so far. Israel has been under continuous rocket attack for at least a year. Hezbollah, with the tacit approval of Lebanon, Syria, and Iran, has been gradually raising the stakes. Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to protect her borders. Israel’s actions are just. The United States should stand by its ally, no matter what the cost. Peace is a better option, but with Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran hell bent on removing Israel from the map, is this really an option?
Technorati Tags: Hezbollah, Israel, Syria, Iran, War,
Friday, August 04, 2006
I was surfing anarchists websites when I found a link to The War on Photographers. I clicked the link and got a chill. A picture very much like one I took a few years ago was staring back at me. It seems that on April 17, 2005 Jim McKinniss did the same thing that I had done. He stopped his car, stood on a public sidewalk, and photographed a moving industrial landscape. Only he was arrested.
Now, as my friends know, I am usually the one to be arrested, or at least hassled. But not this time, it looks like a dodged a bullet. What did McKinniss do that was so wrong? I dunno – maybe his picture, or the thousands of others just like it, could be used by some terrorist hell bent on damaging some oil equipment. It all seems so absurd.
There is a difference between Jim McKinniss and myself. I know my rights. I would have given the cops hell, been beat down, and then have an even better story to tell. Oh well, a missed opportunity I suppose.
A couple of notes: I took this picture in the afternoon during peak traffic times. The picture is taken from a sidewalk near a bridge. I was standing in the City of Carson, not Torrance, when I took this shot. The picture was taken 11/23/2004 and published on Deep Thoughts in January of 2005. I had often thought about shooting a picture of this structure at night, but opted not to because the area is unsafe.
Technorati Tags: photography, WOT, Terrorism, Carson
James Redford, a self-described free-market/libertarian anarchist, that is--otherwise what is called an anarcho-capitalist, authored this lengthy piece in an attempt to prove that Jesus was an Anarchist. Read it and despair. By the end, I only wanted to speak a few unkind words directly to his face. Few people are more annoying than card-carrying libertarians are. At the far end of the libertarian spectrum are libertarian anarchists.
He promises much
It is the purpose of this document to demonstrate the above claim, and if you are a Christian then I submit that it should be your task to honestly consider what is presented here, for if the above claim comes as a surprise then I will show that what you thought you knew about Jesus was not the whole story: Jesus is far more radical than many would have you believe, and for good reason--it threatens the status quo.
He delivers little other than the normal crazy libertarian rant, except that he blames it all on Jesus.
But lastly, many unjust government actions have been supported by self-professed Christians, such as with Prohibition and the War on Drugs, even though such unjust laws are completely unjustifiable from a Biblical perspective and indeed very anti-Christian in the most literal sense of the word. As well, such government actions as taxes are also completely anti-Christian. Thus, in clearly demonstrating how Jesus was nothing if not a perfectly consistent libertarian…
I am a libertarian atheist myself, a small ‘L” libertarian that is. Free markets and limited government, plus a desire to see my personal liberties maintained. Redford is at the other end of the spectrum, a Christian libertarian anarchist. I did not know there was such a thing.
Technorati Tags: Jesus, Libertarians, Nutballs
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